Provide interim relief for families of missing persons – OMP chief | Sunday Observer

Provide interim relief for families of missing persons – OMP chief

Chairperson of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP), President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris has called on the Government to provide interim relief to families of missing persons, according to the recommendations by the OMP in its interim report. The Chairperson highlighted the importance of providing immediate relief to the families at the opening of the OMP’s first regional office in Matara, yesterday.

In the report released in September, the OMP had recognised the urgency to provide relief as the families had become destitute due to the disappearance of the family’s sole breadwinner.

Addressing the gathering, Peiris called on the Government to implement the justice related recommendations, including the suspension of public officials named as suspects in criminal cases relating to abductions and other crimes. “Recent incidents including those in Rathgama have shown that we must take action to ensure the non-recurrence of enforced disappearances,” he said and added that the OMP is not meant to appease Geneva, or any external parties but to address the rights of the families of those missing and the disappeared.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya opened the office. Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs Mano Ganesan was also present.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured the families of the missing that the Office of Reparations will be set up soon. He said that the law must be enforced against any law enforcement or defence officials who had committed crimes. “We have talented and honest police officers, including the Security Forces, and if they commit a crime, the law must be strictly enforced,” he said.

The families of the missing persons also expressed concern. They called upon the OMP officials to establish an external committee to monitor the progress of the OMP office in Matara and highlighted the lack of assistance to female-headed households. They called on the Government to give serious thought to issues that affect families and to implement the recommendations in the OMP’s interim report. The Mannar Regional Office will be at No. 5, Station Road, Mannar and the Matara Regional Office at 54, Dharmarama Road, Fort, Matara. The OMP will set up mobile offices in Galle and Hambantota early. The newly opened Matara office is one of twelve regional offices the OMP hopes to establish in the country this year.

A lecture on, ‘Respecting Humanity in the scientific search for truth’ by Dr. Luis Fondebrider, an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist, and the current President of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, to create public awareness on tracing the missing and disappeared through excavations and the identification of human remains will be held at the BMICH on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at 5 pm.